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Does Romney's Tax Plan Accept the Premise of the Left's Class Warfare?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Daniel Henninger said Mitt Romney is not naturally conservative. He's going to have to be nudged in that direction. That's true. It's not a particularly unique point, but still true. Now on Sunday night Romney was here in Palm Beach for a big fundraiser. Word has leaked out about some of the things that he said to the donors. These are things that he's not said publicly in terms of specifics on policy, and one of the things that he talked about was a tax plan. He wants to lower rates but eliminate some deductions for the rich. And I have to tell you, folks, I'm not comfortable with the Republican nominee talking about special plans for "the rich," special plans for "Hispanics."

That was part of it, too. He was saying we're gonna have to do some special outreach for Hispanics, special outreach for women. No, we don't. Not as conservatives. We don't have to have special policies for this group and that group or special whatever. One of the tax ideas was to eliminate... Now, get this: Eliminate the mortgage deductibility on second homes. Now, that's populism. We're talking an amount of money that's no different than the Buffett Rule. It's a shame. His capital gains idea is also a little curious, because it, too, is targeting "the rich," anybody making over $200,000 jointly and introduces progressivity into the tax which seems fair or what have you.

These are not the things that a Republican, much less a conservative nominee, needs to be talking about or saying. This is Rockefeller Republicanism. This is identity politics. It's the kind of stuff that the left talks about. Nicole Gelinas at The Corner, National Review: "If any of you are struggling or have struggled with figuring your capital-gains and dividends taxes this season, it’s worth remembering that Mitt Romney says he would eliminate capital-gains, dividends, and interest taxes for families earning under $200,000 in adjusted gross income (most people). This idea is solid. It would encourage people to save and invest outside of their 401(k)s and IRAs, a necessity when the country faces a retirement crisis.

"Gutting taxes on all forms of saving and investment would avoid distortions in the marketplace, too. By contrast, a plan that favored, say, dividends over interest would distort the marketplace by pushing people toward one type of savings and investment over another." But it would "introduce a progressive tax system on investment taxes without raising taxes on the wealthy. Romney would keep the 15% tax rate on dividends and capital gains for wealthier earners." She thinks, "This approach seems fair." But what I'm hearing is a Republican nominee, or presumptive nominee, focusing on the rich, the wealthy. This is a premise that's been established by the left.

You know, we don't hate the rich. We don't despise them. We don't begrudge them.

They're role models. They have things to teach people. Something tells me that Mitt Romney's a little embarrassed of his wealth and wants to... I don't know, make excuses for it. Which is not necessary. He should be happy! He should be proud to explain how it happened. There nothing wrong with how it happened. There was nothing ill-gotten, there's nothing criminal, there's nothing in any way shady about it. There's no reason for guilt. There's no reason to feel nervous about it, other than if you want to fall prey to what the Democrats accuse you of. But that's accepting their premise. Let's go to the audio sound bites. Here's Diane Sawyer last night on ABC's World News Tonight. She interviewed Romney, and during a discussion about his financial success, she said this to him...

SAWYER: The speaking fees, the Cadillacs, the story out now that there's an elevator for your cars in the new house you're planning in La Jolla? Are you too rich to relate?

RUSH: What is this? See, now, to me, this would be one of the biggest softballs that had ever been thrown to me. This would be a grand slam home run just waiting to be smacked out of the park. And I'd have a few words for Diane Sawyer. "Diane, are you too rich to relate? Is your husband, Mike Nichols, too rich to relate? What is it about being rich that makes people unable to relate? Was Ted Kennedy too rich to relate?" You see, what happens here is that liberal rich people run around and talk about how they're not paying enough taxes, they're willing to pay higher tax. So they inoculate themselves from any criticism, and they are said to relate to the little people and so forth. The same question is asked of conservatives and, "Oh, my! I gotta get put on the defensive immediately."

Here's Romney's answer, by the way.

ROMNEY: We don't divide America based upon success and wealth and other dimensions of that nature. We're one nation under God. We come together. This is a time when people of different backgrounds and different experiences need to come together.

SAWYER: Is the "fairness" concern about envy?

ROMNEY: I think it's unfair that this president's been in office three-and-a-half years and 93% of the people who have lost their jobs have been women.

RUSH: Well, see, the problem with, "We don't divide America based upon success and wealth" is the Democrats do. Change the concept of "wealth" to the concept of "success" and start talking about it. Change the concept of "wealth" and equate it to hard work. Change the concept of "wealth" to being a uniquely American aspiration! Change the concept of "wealth" to something everybody wants to be! Everybody has that dream. Everybody wants that opportunity. Some people are willing to work harder at it than others. But there's no reason to be defensive about this. This question that she asked him could be asked of Obama. It could be asked now of Bill Clinton. It could have been asked about John Edwards. It could be asked about John Kerry.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Folks, look, what I don't understand from Romney is why class warfare, and it's what it is. If you're gonna start emulating the Democrats on we're gonna have a different set of rules for the rich, then you're pandering. It's populism. You're emulating the class warfare of Obama of the Democrats. And it's not necessary. Why not eliminate everybody's deductions? Go and have different tax rates if you want, but eliminate everybody's deductions. If we're gonna eliminate some people's deductions, why not everybody's? The other side gets into that game of class warfare. All this does is sort of concede that the Democrats are right about this, treating people differently when it comes to freedom and liberty and economic opportunity and so forth. We should be for equal protection under the law -- even in the tax code.

END TRANSCRIPT

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